Morning Read: Fort Drum faces uncertainty, as Army braces for lean times

The Watertown Daily Times is reporting that Army Secretary John McHugh is planning significant cuts to the civilian work force, even as the military downsizes the number of active duty soldiers.

Fort Drum has already absorbed about a fifth of the civilian cuts across the Army, said Jeffrey W. Zuhlke, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 400 at the post. But if the Army slashes as many 30,000 civilian slots, as some employees fear, Northern New York could be in trouble, he said.

“If they push for those additional reductions, it’s going to be really painful,” Mr. Zuhlke said.

Meanwhile, the WDT is reporting that Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy is working to make sure Fort Drum isn’t hit by the proposed new round of base closures.

With military spending cuts looming in the next year and the threat of base closures beyond then, Mr. Duffy is visiting with New York lawmakers to discuss how to protect the state’s installations.

Mr. Duffy met with Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, on Tuesday. Meetings were also planned with Rep. Richard L. Hanna. R-Barneveld, and with Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., today.

“We’re very concerned about some of the projected cuts and the impact they would have on New York state,” Mr. Duffy said after meeting with Mr. Owens. “These areas have taken so many hits over the years.”

So what do you think?  Are these military cuts necessary and appropriate?  A risk to our national security?  And what about the North Country economy?  Comments welcome.

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7 Comments on “Morning Read: Fort Drum faces uncertainty, as Army braces for lean times”

  1. mervel says:

    You can’t cut defense and not make cuts.

    Maybe we should re-invade Iraq?

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  2. Pete Klein says:

    Since Fort Drum isn’t in Hamilton County, I couldn’t care less.
    Besides, all we really need is the Navy and its Marines.

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  3. TomL says:

    From http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/04/11/global-military-spending-growth-slowest-since-2001/

    ” “The USA has increased its military spending by 81 percent since 2001, and now accounts for 43 per cent of the global total, six times its nearest rival China,” Sam Perlo-Freeman, the head of SIPRI’s Military Expenditure Project, said in a statement.

    “At 4.8 percent of GDP, US military spending in 2010 represents the largest economic burden outside the Middle East”, he said. ”

    So yes, there is PLENTY of room to cut spending, or at least allocate it differently. Winding down Afghanistan / Iraq / Star Wars are three ways to save. Reducing US presence and expenditures in Japan, Korea, and especially Europe will also save. Remind me again, why do we have a substantial presence in Germany, Britain, and Italy?

    However, we do have to watch Veteran services. The burden of veteran health care has been growing, for obvious reasons, and will continue to balloon as the cumulative physical and mental effects of multiple deployments to war zones becomes evident. There is a lot of medical care, physical rehab, physical therapy, mental health therapy, and job training & assistance that will need to be funded in coming years.

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  4. If Clapton is God, Warren Haynes is Jesus says:

    I completely agree with what TomL mentioned above. To add to his comments, I wish our local elected officials, indeed all those who serve in Congress, would start asking why there’s even a BRAC process being proposed domestically and not the same being proposed internationally.

    I’ve always believed that the nation as a whole tolerates such largess with our military spending because they understand that in many ways it’s one giant jobs program. Of course it still fulfills its primary purpose of national defense, but the apparatus is still the largest government agency with over 3.2 MILLION employees worldwide. But when the domestic jobs suffer to maintain those that exist overseas, and to defend nations with our tax dollars as compared with their own, something is terribly wrong.

    Take just one country as an example. Germany is a country with one of the largest economies in the world. Yet, we defend it still 60+ years after the destruction of the Third Reich. At a time when we’re proposing domestic lay offs and base closures, shouldn’t our elected officials question the rational for defending such a successful successful and rich nation.

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  5. Mervel says:

    What if members of the Armed Forces unionized? Would it be a different story? Maybe it would be; if we support all of these other government unions and their fight to keep jobs and benefits we should support armed services unions, right?

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  6. Mervel says:

    Why can’t soldiers unionize?

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  7. Two Cents says:

    “Why can’t soldiers unionize?”

    Probably so they can’t strike.
    When you are in the Armed Services, you are Government property, not an employee.

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